Tanya is the leader of the Denali coven, which consists of Kate, Garrett, Carmen, Eleazar, and her deceased sister, Irina. Like the Cullen family, Tanya and her coven also live a "vegetarian" lifestyle, feeding on wild animal blood rather than human blood. Tanya initially had a "crush" on Edward Cullen, which is shown and described in Midnight Sun and Eclipse.
Tanya was born in ancient Slovakia. She was the first of Sasha's adoptive daughters. She was Sasha's biological great-niece, and when Sasha yearned for companionship, she chose Tanya to join her. Within her first century as a vampire, Sasha added two more vampires to their family, Kate and Irina. They have been close as a family since then.
Since Tanya was closest to Sasha, she was impacted stronger than her sisters when Sasha's crime of creating an immortal child was revealed. She did not understand the reason behind Sasha's actions, but once the Volturi tested Tanya and her sisters' innocence and they were spared execution, she did understand why her mother had kept it secret from them. Their mother's death left the sisters traumatized, and as a result they were purists for vampire laws.
The pain of loss and emptiness became unbearable for Tanya and her sisters, and they tried to fill it with a long line of flirtations, which were enough to frequently distract them from their loss. However, every man they courted ended in death due to their inability to resist their blood. This continuous act earned them the title "succubus" - a demon who seduced men and lured them to their deaths. Over time, Tanya and her sisters began to feel remorse over these small losses; Tanya was the first to become sensitive. When the pain became unbearable, she gave up human men for a time, but the loneliness returned. Tanya then tried to think of a way to go back to her romantic pursuits without killing her human companions. After much thought, she decided it was the steady diet of human blood that made it difficult for her to resist the blood of specific humans she had wished to spare. Eventually, she discovered that drinking animal blood took care of her nutritional needs without weakening her ability to resist human blood. She showed this method to her sisters, and in a few centuries they had perfected their "vegetarianism", and had also courted with male vampires, though she had never found her match.
When she met Eleazar and Carmen, she was happy to explain her dietary choices. As the newcomers became closer and closer to Tanya and her sisters, Tanya naturally took her place as the leader of the family. She was delighted to meet the Cullen family, and saw Carlisle as her peer in many ways. She was also intrigued by Edward Cullen, mostly because he showed no interest in her advances despite the fact that he had no partner. Tanya never gave up her lighthearted pursuit of Edward, which is one of the reasons the Cullens did not settle in Alaska with the Denalis.
Shortly beforehand, in Midnight Sun, Edward stays with Tanya and her family after he first met Bella and was tempted to feed on her blood by her mouthwatering scent. At first, Tanya misinterprets the visit, assuming that Edward returned her romantic feelings for him. Once she realizes that Edward does not share her feelings, Tanya is still a good friend to him, stating that she believes that he would do the right thing, unaware of his true reasons for visiting, and encourages his return to Forks.
In New Moon, Bella mentions Tanya after an exchange with Edward in which he explained that Alice was trying to convince Jasper to visit the Denali clan after his attempted attack on Bella during her birthday party, and again during her conversation with Laurent before his death; he having taken up residence with her family briefly.
Bella finds out in Eclipse that Tanya was once interested in Edward but that he refused her. Tanya and her family are later called upon by the Cullens to help in the fight against the newborn army created by Victoria. They agree to help on the condition that they are allowed to break the treaty and later fight the La Push werewolves to avenge Laurent's murder in Irina's favor. Carlisle refuses the condition (since Laurent was about to kill Bella before the shape-shifters intervened) and the families part on less than amicable terms.
- "If the Volturi won't pause to listen to our witness, we cannot simply stand by."
- ―Tanya's willingness to help the Cullens.[src]
Tanya and the rest of the Denali coven attend Edward and Bella's wedding in Breaking Dawn. They apologize for not joining the Cullens in the fight against Victoria's newborn vampire army, claiming that as members of the family they shouldn't have refused. Tanya is thrilled to finally meet Bella, teasing Edward and complimenting him on his choice of bride.
Months after the wedding, Tanya returns to Forks with her family on request of Carlisle. Initially, she is reluctant to believe that Renesmee is not an immortal child and fears the Volturi's persecution. However, after Carmen let Renesmee explain her story, she persuades Tanya and the others, and they all accept the truth and choose to witness for the Cullens and, if necessary, fight the Volturi. Tanya insists that she and the rest of the Denali clan be considered cousins of the Cullens. She, like the other members of her coven, are intrigued and watch Bella train her mind and body, while they wait for the Volturi to come.
During the final confrontation against the Volturi, her sister Irina is killed by the Volturi for "false testimony" as a ploy by Caius to enrage Tanya and Kate into attacking them. The ploy is unsuccessful since Carlisle and Edward (Emmett and Eleazar in the film) restrain Tanya while Garrett restrains Kate; Zafrina temporarily blinds both sisters to keep them from moving. While the Volturi council decide the fate of the Cullens and the witnesses, Tanya claims Caius as her opponent in revenge for her fallen sister. It never comes to a fight, as Aro decides that Renesmee is not a threat. The Denalis then return home to mourn their lost sister, with their new member, Garrett, who has declared his affections for Kate, with her returning them.
In Alice's vision of the battle in which she shows the demise of the Volturi, Tanya is seen fighting many members of the Volturi, alongside her sister Kate and Kate's mate Garrett. She is shown to be a very capable fighter, gaining the upper hand against the vampires she fights against. As the battle ensues, the leaders of the Volturi begin to see their main weapons (Jane, Alec, Demetri and Felix) have been destroyed and must join the fight themselves. Caius runs towards Tanya, and the two begin to fight. Garrett joins in and kicks Caius towards Kate, who stuns him with her powers. Tanya slowly and coldly walks over to Caius, clearly enjoying the revenge she is about to take on him. She proceeds to put her fingers into his mouth, and tears his head off through the jaw. However, since the battle was a vision, the fight never happens, and the Volturi and the Denali clan leave in peace. They mourn their fallen sister, Irina, afterwards.
- "Tanya was every bit as lovely as my worst nightmares had predicted."
- ―Bella on Tanya[src]
Tanya is described as having long, curly, strawberry blonde hair and is 5'5" tall. While her age (when turned) is unclear, she is typically described as being a "woman". This suggests that she is probably a little older than the Cullen family's "children" (i.e. Edward, Emmett, Jasper, Bella, Rosalie, and Alice), who range in age from 17 to 20 (Edward and Emmett, respectively). Tanya is described as beautiful even for a vampire, and irresistible to men (the sisters being the original truth behind the legends of the succubus, a female spirit that preys on human men).
In the movie adaptations, her hair color is changed to a pale shade of blonde, instead of a strawberry one as described in the books.
Tanya is not described in detail in the books, although some perceive her to be very similar to Bella Swan's character: open to alternatives for people to see themselves as her. Throughout the series, she is portrayed as very playful, loyal, seductive, and insightful. During the Cullens' stay with the Denali clan, Tanya attempted to flirt with Edward while he was lying in the snow; however, he rejected her overtures. In addition, Tanya continues to be affectionate with Edward even after he is married to Bella, though she is very understanding and accepting of his decision, and goes to the extent of welcoming Bella into the family. Even so, Tanya's deepest emotional connection (besides her family) is to Carlisle; as she often refers to herself and the Denali clan as Carlisle's extended family and refers to him specifically when expressing her regret over their lack of action against Victoria's newborn army.
When the covens gather to stand against the Volturi in Breaking Dawn, the Denalis insist they be counted as part of the Cullen family.
Powers and abilities
Like other vampires, Tanya has superhuman speed, superior strength, enhanced reflexes, graceful movements, and heightened senses. In a snowy environment, she can move so gracefully that her feet are almost soundless.
Bella mentions in Breaking Dawn that Tanya and many others have helped teach her fighting skills. This indicates that Tanya is a very capable fighter despite the lack of extra powers like Kate and Eleazar.
Tanya is the eldest adoptive sister to Kate and the deceased Irina and Vasilii (an immortal child), as well as the adoptive daughter of the deceased Sasha. She is also co-members with Eleazar, Carmen and newbie Garrett; and former co-members with Laurent. She considers herself and her coven an extended family to Carlisle's.
Sasha was known to be Tanya's adoptive mother. In truth, they were also blood related.
Sasha loved the idea of having another female vampire with her so much that she made Tanya a vampire. Of all three sisters, Tanya was her closest daughter. Losing her mother was a tremendous blow for all three of them, especially Tanya. Even today, Sasha's crime and death has still a strong impact to Tanya and Kate.
- "Do you really doubt me that much, sister?"
- ―Kate to Tanya[src]
Kate is Tanya's younger adoptive sister. She is the only one of the three sisters to have a supernatural gift. The two of them, along with Irina, were turned around the same century when their mother desired to create a few sisters for Tanya, and have been close like real sisters ever since. While still sustaining human blood, they invented the original succubus: a demon that preys on men.
After the death of their mother Sasha and then sister Irina, Kate becomes what is left of Tanya's family before Carmen, Eleazar and Garrett joined them.
Irina is Tanya's youngest adoptive sister. She died during the confrontation between the Volturi and the Cullens. They, along with Kate, were turned around the same century, and have been close like sisters ever since. While still sustaining human blood, they invented the original succubus: a demon that preys on men.
When Irina dies at the hands of the Volturi, Tanya and Kate temporarily lose their reason and attempt to avenge their sister, but both are halted by their extended family and friends. Tanya and Kate are still mournful of Irina's death, but find themselves unable to avenge her.
- "You've never done anything worth castigating yourself this way."
- ―Tanya comforting Eleazar[src]
Eleazar is a member of the Denali coven, who joined them with his mate Carmen after leaving the Volturi to lead a more peaceful existence. Eventually, they met the Denali sisters and found interest in their "unusual" lifestyle and stayed with them. Tanya is fond of his way of thinking regarding justice and peace, and has faith in his intentions.
Carmen is a member in the Denali coven, and Eleazar's mate. Though it is not determined how close she is to Tanya, it seems they have a fairly mutual connection, as Eleazar points out that by abstaining from human blood allows them to form true family bonds. Tanya and Carmen supposedly think of each other as sisters.
- "Tanya expressed a little interest. I let her know, in a very courteous, gentlemanly fashion, that I did not return that interest."
Edward Cullen is a telepathic vampire member of the Olympic coven, which is considered as an extended family to Tanya and her coven due to their diet on animal blood. Tanya was very interested in Edward upon their first encounter, mostly because he showed no interest in her advances despite the fact that he had no partner. Her relentlessly lighthearted pursuit of Edward was one of the reasons the Cullens did not settle in Alaska with the Denalis.
When Edward came to stay with her family in Midnight Sun, she mistook that he was returning her feelings. Her feelings towards Edward were described by him as, "not at all pure." But even though he thinks of her as nothing more than a close cousin, she still encourages him to face whatever problem is was that drove him to Denali.
When Edward marries Bella, Tanya and her coven are fairly happy to meet their cousin-in-law. Tanya's affections for Edward seemingly dissipate over time, especially after finding out that he has chosen Bella as his mate.
Garrett, Tanya's adoptive brother-in-law, is the most recent member of the coven, and Kate's mate.
He first meets Tanya and her family when they are assembled to help the Cullens testify against the Volturi's false accusation. He finds their lifestyle so curious and entertaining that he asks endless questions about their diet. He also points out that by drinking animal blood - which he depicts as a life of sacrifice - the Cullens and the Denalis have received something much more valuable: bonds of love.
After the Volturi left the Cullens in peace, Garrett officially joins the family.
Buring described how she auditioned and got the role after two weeks, and discussed her character in an interview with "LeicesterSquare TV".
- Twilight (mentioned)
- Midnight Sun (first unpublished appearance)
- New Moon (mentioned)
- Eclipse (mentioned)
- Breaking Dawn (first published appearance)
|Current members||Tanya • Kate • Eleazar • Carmen • Garrett|
|Members deceasing in the novels||Laurent • Irina|
|Past members||Sasha • Vasilii|